FreshPatents.com Logo
stats FreshPatents Stats
n/a views for this patent on FreshPatents.com
Updated: December 09 2014
newTOP 200 Companies filing patents this week


Advertise Here
Promote your product, service and ideas.

    Free Services  

  • MONITOR KEYWORDS
  • Enter keywords & we'll notify you when a new patent matches your request (weekly update).

  • ORGANIZER
  • Save & organize patents so you can view them later.

  • RSS rss
  • Create custom RSS feeds. Track keywords without receiving email.

  • ARCHIVE
  • View the last few months of your Keyword emails.

  • COMPANY DIRECTORY
  • Patents sorted by company.

Your Message Here

Follow us on Twitter
twitter icon@FreshPatents

Aid device including a tool and an attaching of the tool

last patentdownload pdfdownload imgimage previewnext patent

20130035771 patent thumbnailZoom

Aid device including a tool and an attaching of the tool


This invention relates to aid devices for assisting people inhibited in their movement of especially the hands and/or wrists, such as people who are physically impaired due to arthritis, injury, or other physiological problems giving reduced strength. This is solved by introducing an aid tool comprising at least two grippers and means to attach each gripper to a finger of a person, where the grippers are adapted to follow the individual finger in a movement in the direction of closing and loosen of a grip, and where an activation of the aid tool includes locking the grippers unidirectionally in the present position. The invention further introduces mounting means for attaching the aid tool to a body part, and where the mounting means comprises coupling means for detaching and attaching this and other tools according to the need.
Related Terms: Arthritis Physiologic Ripper
Browse recent Invencon Aps patents
USPTO Applicaton #: #20130035771 - Class: 623 65 (USPTO) - 02/07/13 - Class 623 
Prosthesis (i.e., Artificial Body Members), Parts Thereof, Or Aids And Accessories Therefor > Arm Or Component (e.g., Elbow, Wrist, Hand, Finger, Etc.) And Actuator Or Connector Therefor >With Article Or Article Holder



Inventors: Hans Joergen Pedersen, Jesper Allan Hansen

view organizer monitor keywords


The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20130035771, Aid device including a tool and an attaching of the tool.

last patentpdficondownload pdfimage previewnext patent

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is entitled to the benefit of and incorporates by reference essential subject matter disclosed in International Patent Application No. PCT/DK2011/000044 filed on May 6, 2011 and Danish Patent Application No. PA 2010 00398 filed May 6, 2010.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to aid devices for assisting people inhibited in their movement of especially the hands and/or wrists, such as people who are physically impaired due to arthritis, injury, or other physiological problems giving reduced strength. This is solved by introducing an aid tool with at least two grippers and means to attach each gripper to a finger of a person, where the grippers are adapted to follow the finger(s) in at least the directions to grab and release an object. When the aid tool has been moved to grab an object by a person, an activation of the aid tool ensures a unidirectional locking of the grippers, meaning they are locked in their movement in the releasing direction. The invention further introduces mounting means for attaching the aid tool to a body part, where the mounting means comprises coupling means for detaching and attaching this and other tools according to the need.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to aid devices for assisting people inhibited in their movement of especially the hands and/or wrists, such as people who are physically impaired due to arthritis, injury, or other physiological problems giving reduced strength.

A substantial number of people suffer from deformations, chronic pain, and other impairments of the hands and wrists, due to injuries or various diseases such as rheumatoid or other forms of arthritis. Such impairments often render it difficult or impossible for the affected people to hold and effectively to use and handle tools, for example such as a pen, pencil, or other writing instrument, scissors, toothbrushes, kitchen utensils (such as knives, forks, stirrers, spatulas, etc.), and the like.

Many such people are able move their arm, and even fingers, but need strength to grip devices and hold them firmly.

The aim of the present invention therefore is to introduce a device, either single- or multi-purpose aid device, which can assist or enable people with physically impaired hands and/or wrists to hold and use various hand-held tools and devices (such as toothbrushes, keys, scissors, tongs, and kitchen utensils) with greater ease, where the invention especially introduces a tool to assist gripping objects firmly, this being especially suited for users able to move their arms, hands and fingers, only having no strength to take a firm grip on objects. Especially it is an aim of the present invention to introduce a device with grippers to be placed between the user's fingers and an object to be held, so that the holding force exerted by the aid tool does not affect the fingers but only increases the pressure between the grippers of the aid tool and the object.

SUMMARY

This is solved by introducing an aid tool comprising at least two grippers and means to attach each gripper to a finger of a person, where the grippers are adapted to follow the individual finger in at least the directions to grab and release an object. When the aid tool has been moved to grab an object by a person, an activation of the aid tool ensures a unidirectional locking of the grippers, meaning they are locked in their movement in the releasing direction

In this manner the users may themselves move the hand and thereby the aid tool to the object and grab it. The grippers follow the fingers in at least the directions to grab and release an object and a hold force, in the following a hold, on the object is subsequently established to ensure a firm grip even though the user has no significant strength. This hold is formed by the aid tool being adapted to tighten the grip on the object a little more than the strength of the grip at the time of activation.

In one embodiment this hold is achieved by letting at least some of the grippers comprise an inflatable section, or at least expandable contact section, being inflated or expanded when the aid tool is activated. These sections then form the contact to the object. Inflatable or expandable in the present context means they when activated will form protrusions above the surface of the grippers. The inflatable or expandable contact sections preferably have contact surfaces to the object with high friction.

In an alternative embodiment this hold is achieved by letting the grippers move in the grapping direction to form a slightly more tight grab than when the aid tool was activated, and where the grippers comprises elastically deformable contact sections to be in contact with the object. The elastically deformable contact sections are such that they will conform a little to the surface of the object, such both giving a more ‘soft’ contact to the object, thus helping to prevent it from being damaged, and in addition giving an even further tightened grab of the object. Again the surface of these contact surfaces may be such that they have a high friction.

The aid tool in one embodiment is activated by activating at least one activation switch at a predetermined force. In one embodiment the switch is positioned on a gripper between the gripper and a finger, and is adapted to be activated when the finger press on the activation switch at the predetermined force. The user therefore needs no significant strength in the fingers to use the device, only slightly to push a switch.

In an alternative embodiment the activation switch is positioned such that it is to be activated by the other hand of the person.

To inflate the inflatable sections the aid tool further comprises means to fill a fluid media into the inner of the inflatable sections when the aid tool is activated. The aid tool in this configuration therefore comprises the needed means to fill a fluid media into the inflatable sections, such as for example a compressor, fluid communications, valves, vents and/or flow restrictors.

To secure the aid tool in a quick and easy exchangeable manner to a body part, the present invention further introduces mounting means adapted to be attached to a body part first coupling means comprising a biased catch having a first position and a second position holding mechanism adapted to hold the catch in the second position, releasing means adapted to release the catch from the holding mechanism, wherein the aid tool comprises second coupling means and where either the first coupling means or the second coupling means comprises a driving mechanism adapted to move the biased catch from a first to a second position.

The driving mechanism preferable is a pneumatic, hydraulic, piezo, electroactive, electrostrictive, electrical and/or magnetic actuator.

In more general, to ensure a quick attaching and detaching of the tool to and from the aid device, in one preferred embodiment the coupling of the first and second coupling means are based on a biased clutch, where different types of biased clutches as known in the art may be introduced such as spring clutch, a diaphragm spring, by pneumatics, strings, hydraulics, piezo motors, electrical and/or a magnetic spring clutch.

The aid tool may comprise energy storing means especially to be used in connection with the biased clutch or other energy consuming parts of the aid device.

The energy storing means may in one embodiment be recharged during handling of the tool, or during the attachment of the first and second coupling means.

In a further embodiment, the aid device may comprise electrical parts, such as a magnetic spring clutch, and may therefore comprise energy storing means for storing electrical energy, such as batteries.

In one embodiment the aid device is to be attached and detached to and from the body part in a base station, where the base station may be positioned at the home of the person, or at a place where it is operated by specialists,.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a simple illustration of the aid tool of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows the aid tool as it is in position to grip an object.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of a positioning of a switch to activate the aid tool of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an illustration of inflated or expanded sections being in contact with an object.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of the aid tool including mounting means.

FIGS. 6A and 6B is a first embodiment of a first and second coupler adapted to attach and detach a tool to the mounting means of the present invention.

FIGS. 7A and 7B is a second embodiment of a first and second coupler adapted to attach and detach a tool to the mounting means of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a third embodiment of a first and second coupler adapted to attach and detach a tool to the mounting means of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a fourth embodiment of a first and second coupler adapted to attach and detach a tool to the mounting means of the present invention.

FIG. 10 shows the mounting means of the present invention being coupled to a different tool.

FIG. 11 is an alternative embodiment to the mounting tool according to the present invention.

FIG. 12 is an alternative embodiment to the coupling of a tool to the mounting means according to the present invention.

FIGS. 13 is an illustration of a thumb mounted gripper and its relative degree of moveability relative to the other grippers.

FIG. 14 is an illustration of one embodiment of the aid tool with mounting means and flexible joints.

FIG. 15 is an illustration of one embodiment of the locking mechanism of the flexible joints.

FIG. 16 is an illustration of grippers with rotation contact sections,

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 shows schematically the concept of an aid tool (1) according to the present invention, where the aid tool (1) comprises at least two grippers (2), in the illustration three, connected to some or all of the fingers such as by straps (3). In the preferred embodiment one of the grippers (2) is secured to the thumb.

The grippers (2) are able to move with the fingers at in at least the directions to grab and release an object (4) where the grippers are placed between the object and the fingers, thus avoiding pain to the fingers, when the aid tool (1) exercises its additional force, the hold.

The user of the aid tool (1) is preferably able to move the hand in connection with the object (4) and to move the fingers and thus the grippers (2).

When the aid tool (1) is placed in connection with an object (4), FIG. 2, the user grabs on the object with the grippers (2), not the fingers, touching the object.

In the illustrated embodiment, at least one of the grippers (2) has an activation switch (5), see FIG. 3, positioned such that when the finger press the activation switch (5) with a pre-defined force, a gripper interlocking mechanism is activated (not illustrated) to lock preferably all the grippers (2) in their present position in an unidirectional manner meaning they are locked in their movement in the releasing direction but may be free to move in the grapping direction.

The aid tool (1) is further adapted to form a hold on an object (4), this hold being formed by tightening the grip on the object (4) a little more than the strength of the grip at the time of activation.

In one embodiment this hold is established in that at least some of the grippers (2) comprise a contact section (6) to the object (4) being an inflatable or expandable contact section adapted to form protrusions above the surface of the gripper when the aid tool (1) is activated, these protrusions forming at least part of the contact surface to the object (4).

When the aid tool (1) is activated by pressing the activation switches (5), the inflatable or expandable contact sections (6) inflate, much as a balloon, or expands (see FIG. 4), to a predetermined pressure or expansion level and reach out of the grippers (2) until they get into the desired degree of contact with the object (4). A combination of the unidirectional locked grippers (2), the inflatable or expandable contact sections (6) squeezing onto the object (4) and their high friction surfaces ensures a firm grip onto the object.

In an alternative or additional embodiment, the hold is established in a manner where the grippers (2) after activation move in the grapping direction to form a slightly tighter grab than at the time of activation. The grippers (2) may then comprise contact sections (6) being elastically deformable contact sections (6), such that they will conform a little to the surface of the object (4) giving a more ‘soft’ contact to the object, thus helping to prevent it from being damaged, and in addition giving an even further tightened grab of the object. Again the surface of these contact surfaces may be such that they have a high friction.

In one embodiment at least a significant part of the contact surface of the grippers (2) to the object (4) is made of or at least comprises a high friction material of any kind as known in the art.

The grippers (2) may automatically sense when they touch the object (4), for example due to the increased resistance to the drivers of the grippers (2). The system then optionally is deactivated and the grip released when the user deactivates the activation switches (5).

Alternatively the grippers (2) stop e.g. when the fingers release the activation switches (5), and then hold this position until the activation switch (5) is activated a next time.

The inflatable or expandable contact sections (6) optionally inflate or expand either as the grippers (2) are activated by pressing the activation switch (5), when they are set to hold the position or when they are activated a second time.

When the user wants to let the object free, the push of the fingers on the switch(es) is removed, thus removing the lock of the grippers (2) and deflating the inflatable or expandable contact sections (6). Alternatively one of the switch(es) (5) are dedicated to turn off the activation energy in order to bring the inflatable or expandable contact sections back into their original positions

This only leaves the user to be able to move the arm and open and close the fingers, the activation switches (5) may only need a slight touch to be activated, where this may be an adjustable parameter of the aid tool (1), the activation force of the switch(es) (5) especially being adjusted according to the need of the individual user.

The same activation/deactivation of would also apply to the alternative or additional embodiment where the grab is tightened by a slightly further movement of the grippers (2) in the gripping direction.

The media inflating the inflatable sections (6) may be fluid like a gas like air or a liquid like water or oil. The device expanding the expandable contact sections may be a linear activator driven by electrical, piezoelectric, pneumatic or hydraulic means, or a form of an expandable polymer such as an electrostatically driven polymer actuation material

The aid tool (1) would comprise the devices needed to perform the action of inflation or expansion and deflation or relaxation as well known in the art, such as a compressor, a fluid reservoir containing the fluid to inflate the sections (6), fluid communication means to connect e.g. the reservoir and the inflatable sections (6), valves, vents, flow restrictors etc. In one embodiment the media is air sucked to the inflatable sections (6) from the externals.

The grippers (2) may being operated by drivers, such as for example electrical, electrostatic, magnetic, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical or string means, such as by for example actuators of any kind as known in the art. These drivers may be controlled by pressing the activation switches (5) at the fingers at a predetermined force.

The expansion and relaxation of the inflatable or expandable contact sections (6) may be operated by pneumatics, strings, hydraulics, piezo motors, electrical and/or magnetic methods.

The inflatable or expandable contact sections (6) may be introduced as balloon-shaped or bladder like elements enclosed within deepenings in the grippers (2) and having at least part of the surface comprising a high friction material, the part of the surface to get in contact with objects (4). When the aid tool (1) is activated, to inflate or expand the sections (6) the internals of the balloon-shaped or bladder like elements then are filled with a media under predetermined pressures. Alternatively to the balloon-shape the deepenings may just have a cover of a substantially flexible material and with an external surface of a high friction material. When a media of a predetermined pressure is filled into the deepening the covers then bulges out from the surface of the grippers (2) to get in contact with the object (4).

In one advanced version the aid tool (1) further comprises means to sense the pressure of the inflatable or expandable contact sections (6) on the object (4), where this may be in connection with the needed pressure to squeeze media to the internals of the inflatable sections (6). When part of the surfaces of the inflatable sections gets in contact with the object (4) these parts are prevented from further extension/inflation, and thus adds to the pressure needed to squeeze further media into their internals. Thus by defining a maximum of this pressure, it is possible to regulate the pressure of the grippers (2) and inflatable sections (6) on the object (4).

Thus the inflatable sections (6) may optionally be filled at an adjustable predetermined pressure being adjusted according to the need of the individual user and/or be adjusted according to the actual object (4), for example according to how delicate and heavy the object is (4).

FIG. 5 shows one embodiment of a further generalized concept of the present invention, where the aid tool (1) is coupled (8) to mounting means (7) optionally shaped as an armlet fitting tightly at a body part of the user. The coupler (8) is shown having an optional ring part (9) for the thumb to help make a stable attachment of the aid tool (1) to the hand.

The mounting means (7) may comprise fastening means to attach the mounting means (7) firmly to the body part of the user. This may be any as known in the arts such as a buckle or bask, optionally also including straps, bandage or the like to be wrapped firmly around the body part.

In an even more advanced version the mounting means (7) and/or the fastening means may be formed of a shrinkable or expandable material, such as one changing the length due to an electrical stimulus etc., for example a electrostrictive polymer, electroactive polymers or some familiar technology. Alternative the fastening means operates by pneumatics, strings, hydraulics, piezo motors, electrical and/or magnetic methods.

FIGS. 6A and 6B shows a embodiment of the present invention, where the mounting means (7) further comprises first coupling means (10) to be coupled to second coupling means (11) forming part of, or at least being fixed to, the coupler (8) of the tool (1), and releasing means (12) to release and detach the first (10) coupling from the second (11) coupling. The releasing means would have to be substantially easy and simple to activate due to the limited movement ability of the user.

To ensure a quick attaching and detaching of the tool (1), the coupling of the first (10) and second coupling (11) means are in one preferred embodiment based on a biased clutch system, where different biased clutches or catches may be introduced, such as a spring clutch, a diaphragm spring and/or a magnetic spring clutch etc., any as known in the arts. The term ‘catch’ in the following will be used in general also including clutch, pawl etc.

FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrates the basic principle where the first coupling (10) has a catch (13) being biased by biasing member (14) for example a spring, biasing the catch (13) towards a first position. A holding mechanism (15) is in a releasable manner able to hold the catch (13) in a second position, being a position where the catch (13) locks into a notch (16) of the second coupling (10). The catch (13) is forced from the first position to the second position during coupling of the first coupling (10) to the second coupling (11) by a driver (17), and the holding mechanism (15) holds the catch (13) in the second position. The driver may be activated by an activator (18) during coupling, where the activator (18) could be a switch being squeezed when the first coupler (10) is connected to the second coupler (11). The driver may be an actuator and is optionally a pneumatic, hydraulic, piezo, electroactive, electrostrictive, electrical and/or magnetic actuator.

When the holding mechanism (15) is released by activation of the release mechanism (12) the biasing member (14) forces the catch (13) to the first position, thus releasing the first (10) from the second (11) coupling.

The alternative operation would also apply to the present invention, where the biasing member (13) instead would bias the catch (13) towards the second position being the locking position when released by activating the activator (18), the driver (17) then forcing the catch (13) to the first position when the release mechanism (12) is activated. The holding mechanism (15) then would hold the catch (13) in the first position until released by the activator (18).

It is to be noted, that biasing members according to this invention in general may be any known in the art, such as like a spring, a polymer body, by pneumatic, strings, hydraulics, piezo motors, electrical, magnetic etc.

The first coupling (10) in the illustration is equipped with a shape (19) matching a second notch (20) of the second coupling (20).

The holding mechanisms (15) may be purely mechanically or electrically driven, such as by having a magnetic spring loaded catch or clutch (13) and a magnetic holding (15) mechanism being released when a circuit is short circuited or disconnected by activating the releasing means (12). Alternatively is and/or operated by pneumatics, strings, hydraulics, piezo motors etc.

FIG. 6A shows the system where the first coupling (10) is connected to the second coupling (12) and FIG. 6B shows the system when they have been coupled, where the catch (13) is pushed in a longitudinal direction into the notch (16) by a driving mechanism (17), and where this movement simultaneously pushes the shape (19) to the second notch (20), thereby firmly fixing the second coupling (10) to the second coupling (11) when the holding mechanism (15) holds the catch (13).

The aid tool (1) and/or mounting means (7) may comprise energy storing means to deliver the needed energy for example to drive the driver (17) of the biased clutch system or to operate the aid tool (1). The energy may be stored to be transferred as mechanical (for example as energy stored in a spring) or electrical energy (for example as energy stored in a battery).

The energy storing means may be an exchangeable device being prefilled with energy to be exchanged when exhausted, or may be rechargeable and being recharged during e.g. operation of the tool (1) or during coupling/decoupling of the tool (1) to and from the mounting means (7).

One main aspect of the present invention is to ensure that the mounting means is adapted to fit in a firm, stable, but also comfortable manner to the body part and at the same time form a stable platform for the tool (1) during handling. Therefore at least a part of the mounting means (7) comprises a substantially rigid shaped material being held firmly to the body part. This could be a substantially rigid sheet or body having at least one surface shaped to match the outer shape of the body part. This rigid sheet or body then comprises the first coupling (10) and is firmly held to the body part by the mounting means (7).

FIGS. 7A and 7B shows an alternative embodiment of a first (10) and second (11) coupler, where the catch (13) forms a rotating movement into the notch (16). The illustrated notches (16) comprises each two sections (13a, 13b) and the corresponding notches (16) of the second coupling (11) comprises inlets (21) directing the catch (13), and especially the end section (13b), into the notches (16). The first catching section (13a) is then held firmly into this position by a holding mechanism thus forming a firm coupling.

This embodiment has the advantage, that the system would need no special driving mechanism (17), the shape of the inlets (21) directing the catch (13b) into notch (16) in combination with the users themselves, would operate as driving mechanism.



Download full PDF for full patent description/claims.

Advertise on FreshPatents.com - Rates & Info


You can also Monitor Keywords and Search for tracking patents relating to this Aid device including a tool and an attaching of the tool patent application.
###
monitor keywords

Browse recent Invencon Aps patents

Keyword Monitor How KEYWORD MONITOR works... a FREE service from FreshPatents
1. Sign up (takes 30 seconds). 2. Fill in the keywords to be monitored.
3. Each week you receive an email with patent applications related to your keywords.  
Start now! - Receive info on patent apps like Aid device including a tool and an attaching of the tool or other areas of interest.
###


Previous Patent Application:
Liner for prosthetic and orthopedic systems
Next Patent Application:
Generator regulating system and method with dual controllers
Industry Class:
Prosthesis (i.e., artificial body members), parts thereof, or aids and accessories therefor
Thank you for viewing the Aid device including a tool and an attaching of the tool patent info.
- - - Apple patents, Boeing patents, Google patents, IBM patents, Jabil patents, Coca Cola patents, Motorola patents

Results in 2.42068 seconds


Other interesting Freshpatents.com categories:
Tyco , Unilever , 3m

###

Data source: patent applications published in the public domain by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Information published here is for research/educational purposes only. FreshPatents is not affiliated with the USPTO, assignee companies, inventors, law firms or other assignees. Patent applications, documents and images may contain trademarks of the respective companies/authors. FreshPatents is not responsible for the accuracy, validity or otherwise contents of these public document patent application filings. When possible a complete PDF is provided, however, in some cases the presented document/images is an abstract or sampling of the full patent application for display purposes. FreshPatents.com Terms/Support
-g2-0.1248
Key IP Translations - Patent Translations

     SHARE
  
           

stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20130035771 A1
Publish Date
02/07/2013
Document #
13520608
File Date
05/06/2011
USPTO Class
623 65
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
61F2/54
Drawings
14


Your Message Here(14K)


Arthritis
Physiologic
Ripper


Follow us on Twitter
twitter icon@FreshPatents

Invencon Aps

Browse recent Invencon Aps patents

Prosthesis (i.e., Artificial Body Members), Parts Thereof, Or Aids And Accessories Therefor   Arm Or Component (e.g., Elbow, Wrist, Hand, Finger, Etc.) And Actuator Or Connector Therefor   With Article Or Article Holder